I should’ve told my mom

Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: Anonymous

My whole life I knew that I never really wanted to have kids, after watching my mom struggle to raise six of us by herself and putting her life and career on hold. I never planned on getting pregnant and assumed If I ever did, that I’d give it up for adoption or some other alternate.

I’m 22, been having sex since I was 19 and I’ve always been very careful. Just in the last year I got the implant removed because I had no life outside of working because my sisters and I were supporting our mom, and I had to drop out of school a couple years prior. But this year at work, I started dating a guy, a wonderful guy, and we always discussed birth control and I said I’d go back on, but in the meantime we use condoms. I eventually went back on, and ironically after I went back on the implant, I got pregnant.

My last period I had before finding out was wonky and scattered and unusual but I brushed it off due to stress at work and the crippling fear that I could never be pregnant. My best friend suggested I give it to the end of the week and then check. I waited a whole month and I took 2 home pregnancy tests. I felt my heart come to a complete stop. I’d never wanted kids, and was scared but some small part of me was excited. I went to an office the following week to confirm, and then immediately told my boyfriend who, always assumed I would get an abortion, immediately asked if I set the appointment already. I felt hurt and conflicted that maybe he was right, I am in over my head and wouldn’t know what to do, but I figured since my mom did, I could. He said he’d support whatever decision I wanted but whenever I mentioned keeping the baby, he’d get uncomfortable and bring up reasons why it wouldn’t work instead of helping me find reasons why it could. One pivotal point for me was when he point blank said, “Our relationship would suffer and you’ve been acting different, so I think it’d be best for you to get it.” I had JUST signed back up for school in the spring and wasn’t working so maybe he was right? But he’s the older more established one in life, school, and career and I thought he should’ve felt more comfortable with it, but he never came around.

One of my good friends passed away in the midst of all my appointments — that I went to alone — and the pregnancy symptoms alongside the death of my friend shook me. They kind of pushed me to make the abortion appointment. I don’t know how that justified it, but I was grieving and not in the best state of mind, so I made the appointment and my boyfriend came with me. I stopped him right outside the clinic and said maybe we should think about it some more, but he just ushered encouraging words and we went in.

I was 15 weeks, so I had to have a surgical abortion and I had to be dilated for 4 hours. I had never had an OBGYN appointment before, and everything hurt and I felt like I was having an out of body experience. She asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound and I said yes and he looked so beautiful but I knew that I had to move forward, so I looked away and then came through most painful part; sitting through 4 hours of debilitating cramps and mentally not being fully comfortable with my decision, but knowing I had to mentally prepare myself for the real deal. Hours later and they assured me I wouldn’t remember any of it because of the sedation and medicine but I remember every moment of that procedure, and the vacuum sound and the tugging and the absolute fear I had and the tears that wouldn’t stop. All I could think was, “Never in a million years did I think I would be here.”

I stayed at my boyfriends for the next week, and went through several ups and downs. I tried to reassure him that I don’t hate him or resent him and tell him that it was my personal choice, but I know he feels differently. My grief counselor told me I should be open about how I feel regardless of how it might affect my partner, so I told my boyfriend I wished I had full support, and that I didn’t feel so pressured, and mostly I just wished I wasn’t all alone. Growing up, it was never my family’s prerogative to have an abortion, so I feel so completely detached, knowing in another life I might not have done that. I wish I would’ve told my mom because I know she would’ve been supportive and loving, but my fear of my uncertain situation and relationship and future compelled me to stay quiet and do something that I wasn’t totally comfortable with for the sake of my career and relationship. Now I feel obligated to finish school and go about my career because if not, then what was it all for? I think about my due date all the time and I will look down at my stomach from time to time and hope to wake up from all this and imagine holding my child.

I told my mom and she was sad for the baby and that I had to go through this alone and she would’ve been 100% supportive and never not helped me, she just wished I would’ve trusted her. Hearing that tore me apart and made me wonder if it was all worth it? When I move on and get my great job in the great city, will it be worth it? Will my boyfriend still be here, who will never understand what I’m going through. Some men can just wash their hands clean and walk away from it but for us, it’s a lifetime choice. I never wanted a kid and knew it was best I didn’t have one, but you still feel some emotional attachment to knowing that you were even able to get pregnant.

I don’t fully regret what I did, and I know it’s gonna take awhile to be OK, but I know now I have a support system for that in my mom.

To all the women who went through this and feel despair or loneliness or pain, and even to the ones who were fully confident in their decision, you are so strong and so loved and no one can tell you different. I hope all your lives become wonderful and exactly what you want them to be.

You deserve nonjudgmental
after-abortion support.

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